Military History Events, Lectures, and Exhibitions – May

The best military history events, lectures, and exhibitions in May 2021, including an online course delving into the discovery of King Richard III in a car park, and an exhibit on Disney wartime propaganda.


Ai Weiwei – History of Bombs
Until 5 September 2021
IWM London, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ
+44 (0) 20 7416 5000

After months of closure due to the pandemic, the Imperial War Museum will reopen on 19 May, in accordance with government guidelines. Several ongoing exhibitions and features, including History of Bombs, an installation in the museum’s dramatic atrium by Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, have been extended. This gives visitors another chance to enjoy the redecoration of over 1,000 square feet at the heart of the museum. IWM’s sister branches – North, Duxford, and the Churchill War Rooms – will open at the same time, while HMS Belfast opens in July following

Image: IWM.


Hidden Heroines: the untold stories of the women at the dockyard
Until October 2021
The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TZ
+44 (0) 1634 823800

When Zandra Bradley (pictured) applied for the apprenticeship scheme at Chatham Dockyard in the 1970s, she was rejected and told to get a clerical job. But Bradley persisted and, after attending night school to ensure she would pass the entrance exams, she achieved the technician apprenticeship she had hoped for. Her story is just one of more than 200 explored in this new temporary exhibition on female workers at Chatham, which promises to challenge misconceptions about

Image: The Historic Dockyard Chatham.


The Walt Disney Studios and World War II
The Walt Disney Family Museum, 104 Montgomery Street in the Presidio, San Francisco, CA 94129
(+1) 414 345 6800

By the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the entrance of the United States into the Second World War in December 1941, the Walt Disney Studios were already a powerhouse of cinematic production. But, with the country’s freedom and future now at stake, Disney himself diverted all his company’s efforts into assisting the Allied propaganda war. Curated by historian Kent Ramsey, this major special exhibition, the first of its kind, explores that effort in full. Visitors have an opportunity to enjoy over 500 examples of rare, historical objects and film clips from the Disney archive on display (for more, see p.14).

Image: The Walt Disney Family Museum.

Worth checking out

Museum at home Candian War Museum www.warmuseum.ca/ museum-at-home/ The Canadian War Museum has extensively expanded its website in recent times, with an array of digital exhibitions and videos, as well as online galleries of the some 500,000 military-related objects in its collection. There is also ‘Over the top’, an interactive adventure game and the museum’s most popular online experience, in which participants discover how difficult survival could be in the First World War trenches.

England in the time of King Richard III Future Learn www.futurelearn.com/courses/england-of-richard-third The discovery of the skeleton of Richard III in a Leicester car park in 2012 made headlines around the world. This Future Learn course allows participants to learn from scholars from the University of Leicester about the life of the king, the wars in which he played a central role, and what it was like to live in England at the time. The course is free and no prior experience or qualifications are necessary.

Museum collection RAF Museum online https://collections.rafmuseum.org.uk/ This website allows visitors to explore the Royal Air Force Museum’s diverse collection from the comfort of their own homes. Read up on a variety of aircraft from the museum, and enjoy fine art from the aerial conflicts of the last century. There is also the RAF Stories collection, a series of video interviews with guests discussing life in the air force, its history, and the modern museums that commemorate its service.